Increasing your running kilometers

04 August 2020
Are you running for the first time in your life and is your goal to eventually be able to run 5 km? Or have you already covered quite a few kilometers and are you ready for a new challenge like a half or maybe even a whole marathon? Increasing running kilometers in the right way is very important.
Increasing your running kilometers - photo 1.1

Learn to progress from 0 to 5 km.
Usually they say 'the last few kilometers are the hardest'. However, in the case of running, this is just the other way around. The first laps are the toughest, not only mentally but also physically. The fact is that you really have to build in a very step-wise and disciplined manner. Not only does your body have to build up conditioning, but your muscles and tendons also have to get used to the strain. If you run too fast you'll get injuries. So don't go from 0 to 5 km at once, but start for example with 10 x 1 minute jogging alternating with 1 minute of walking. Do this 10 times.

The next time you go running 5 x 2 minutes with 1 minute walking in between, the third time you should run 4 x 3 minutes, and so on. Once you have this under control, you can extend and expand the walking distance until you can eventually run 5 kilometers in a row. Listen to your body Above all, don't build up minutes too fast and start with a slow walking pace during which you can still have a conversation. When you start running, it's good to take about 12 weeks to build up to 5 kilometers. This should work by running at least twice a week.

Progress from 5 to 10 km.
While working yourself up from 0 to 5km is really easy, going from 5 to 10km is a little easier. AT this point, you've already gone through the hardest part of the build up phase. Still, you have to be careful and not get overly confident. Run smart and sensibly. Also run in increments when you want to extend your distance to 10km. For example, first run 6 x 1 km with walking in between. Then build up to 7 x 1 km, 8 x 1 km etc. Afterwards, you should make the distance of your intervals a little longer. For example, vary your walking from 3 x to 4 x to 5 x 2 km. Finally you can make the intervals a little greater again, for example by walking 3 x 3 km or 4 x 2.5 km. The last stage is 2 x 5km to run 10 km in one go. 

Running from 10 to 21.1 km.
Got a taste and ready to hit that half marathon? Then it is wise to train differently than building up to 5 or 10 km. First, run at least 3 times a week. 2 times is actually a bit too little and by running 3 times you can add any type of training. This way you can build up your endurance from 10 to 21.1 km during those 3 times. Just like building up from 5 to 10 km, you use the golden rule of splitting up your sessions. That's how you build up in increments. You can use the other training sessions to work on your perseverance and speed. 

These running tips & tricks are from top athlete and top coach Gert-Jan Wassink. Gert-Jan possesses years of experience as a top athlete with multiple medals for Dutch Championships and is a 7-time participant in European Championships. In addition, he coaches numerous upcoming athletes, recreational runners and top athletes. Gert-Jan's motto is: train smart and sensible and make every workout count.

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